NEW YORK - New management at Sealright Corp. is looking to streamline the company and use state-of-the-art technology to maintain and enhance its traditional market shares. Speaking at the CS First Boston 1995 Packaging Outlook and Review in New York, held Sept. 27-28, Charles Marcy, who has been chief executive of Sealright for about two months, said the company is facing several challenges to its formerly predominant share of several niche packaging markets in North America. Demand for its products has lagged recently, according to Marcy. He said consolidation by customers has made them more powerful, and new foreign competitors have entered the marketplace.
Sealright has been a leader in making high-end packages for the dairy dessert industry, including both paper and plastic containers, labels and film. Its strength has been in the premium-brand ice cream market, but new competitors have changed the balance.
``We are faced with some stiff competition from Tetra Pak'' of Lund, Sweden, Marcy said.
``They have entered the North American market with a total-system approach and some strong customers,'' said John T. Carper, chief financial officer. ``There has been a drastic drop-off in demand by customers, but we are looking at everything we can do to increase our volume and to diversify outside the dessert packaging area.''
He said the company will make greater use of state-of-the-art thermoforming technology from OMV Machinery Corp. that it has installed at its container plant in San Leandro, Calif., and will continue to push the success of its Pinch N Seal brand flexible, resealable pouches. The pouches are used for dried fruits and other snacks. The firm makes a wide range of containers for dairy products.
``With the prices for most resin declining, with the exception of polyesters,'' Marcy said, ``we can push our lead in the use of polypropylene for containers, using the technology, and we can work to correct some low productivity at some facilities.''
He said the company also would consider exploiting opportunities outside North America in both the plastic and paper container arenas, and continue its development of lids, decorated labels and membranes for food packages.
Marcy said he does not see any moves to use plastic more in the premium ice cream area, but that the company will be working with customers to design responsive materials.